In the book Gorgias Socrates finds himself in an argument with Polus and Gorgias about whether oratory is a knack or a craft. Socrates’ opinion is that oratory is not a craft but rather a knack. When looking at the distinction between a knack and a craft it is commonly agreed upon that a knack is simply something that one is instinctively better at than others and a craft is a skill that one acquires through pursuit. With this said, the distinction that Socrates makes between a knack and a craft is a much deeper and more abstract one. Socrates argues that a knack is part of a shameful practice, that practice being flattery, and is only in accordance with what is most pleasant at the time, where as a craft deals with fitness of…show more content…
The same goes for gymnastics and cosmetics. Cosmetics may make you look like you are healthy but they do not make you actually healthy, where as gymnastics knows what’s best for your physical health (Plato 25,26).
This is what Socrates specifically refers to as flattery and is such the thing that he finds to be shameful because it does not take into consideration what is best for both the body and soul but instead guesses at what is most pleasant at the moment (Plato 25). Without the soul to govern the body the world would not know what is best for it. This is what makes a knack undesirable and shameful. What Socrates is ultimately saying is that flattery is deception and that is exactly what oratory is.
Socrates’ argument about oratory being a knack, and a knack being part of a shameful practice, is backed up by his premises and thus makes his argument valid. The premises consisted of the four parts of flattery and each of their counter parts that are found in a craft. After he explains the four parts of both a knack and a craft he explains how a knack is only what is best for the time being, where as